Markets tend to be somewhat underwhelming ‘One Pound Fish’ type affairs, where you can buy fire-damaged duvet covers, knock-off video games and lamb chops that fell off the back of a van. BUT, put the word ‘Christmas’ in front and you’ve a whole ‘nother proposition.

Christmas markets are things of beauty, re-tooled garden sheds decorated with wreaths, liberal lashings of gluehwein and the perma-stench of cinnamon heavy in the air. Places where you can purchase a £20 bauble, acquire a Germanic nutcracker for your window sill or inhale a bratwurst sold for several times the going rate. Emulating the Christmas Markets of Europe and beyond, what could be more magical or Christmassy? So here are our top choices of London Christmas markets – egg-nog yourself out…

Winter Market at Southbank

London’s Southbank is not only a magical setting come wintertime with its twinkling lights glistening off the inky water, but it’s also incredibly accessible for anyone looking to pop into a Christmas market on the way into catch a show, en route back from work or as an act of last minute desperation as you run for the train on Christmas eve.

A magical setting come wintertime with its twinkling lights glistening off the inky water...

Traders from around the world will meet to tout their seasonal gifts and trinkets, but far more importantly streetfooders will bring their very best in terms of bratwurst and raclette (including Igloo kings Jimmy Garcia) as well as more esoteric takes on Christmas cooking from Asian, Indian and Greek pop-ups.

When: Thursday 4th November to Friday 24th December
Southbank, Waterloo, SE1

Winter Wonderland

The Christmas market at Winter Wonderland takes Christmas marketing to another level.

Located right next to the ice rink (check it out), the best entry is the Blue Gate to bypass the throngiest of crowds.

Over 200 Bavarian cabins selling all manner of Christmas items...

With over 200 Bavarian cabins selling all manner of Christmas items at the Hyde Park extravaganza, it’s quite possibly the largest German Market that’s not in Germany right now.

When: From Friday 19th November until Monday 3rd January
Where: Hyde Park, W2 2UH

Christmas By The River

Visit the South Bank Christmas Market and just keep on walking! For about 20 minutes and you’ll hit the other market on the bank of the river.

A does-what-it-says-on-the-tin affair...

Christmas By The River, a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin affair, marries Christmas market vibes with stunning riverside views.

Hot toddies all round.

When: Tuesday 16th November to Sunday 2nd January
London Bridge City, Southwark, SE1 2DB

Selfridges Christmas Market on the Mews

Not content with dominating the myriad retail opportunities in one of the nation’s best-known department store, Selfridges have spilled out onto the street.

But as well as all the usual market shizz, Selfridges brings something else. Specifically a helter skelter and fairground.

When: Friday 5th November until Friday 24th December
Where: 400 Oxford Street, West End, W1A 1AB

Zero Waste Christmas Market

‘It’s the most waaaa-steful time of the year’ as the Christmas song should’ve gone. Christmas comes with unnecessary packaging, wasteful gluttony and tonnes and tonnes of unwanted gifts. Okay, maybe let’s keep the gluttony in there, but for the rest the Zero Waste Christmas Market is there.

‘It’s the most waaaa-steful time of the year...

All the brands at the market are low impact, zero waste, ethical and sustainable. It’s a plastic-free and low-carbon zone, perfect for buying gifts that aren’t going to harm the planet. Even the food and drink options (including vegan, natch) ensure they’re using reusable and compostable serving plates and cups.

When: Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th November
Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6EW

Kingston Christmas Market

If Christmas is approximately 2,000 years old, there’s been a market in Kingston’s Ancient Market Place for more than half of that. It seems unlikely that medieval traders would have passed on the opportunity to flog sticks of stripy rock, tasteful tinsel or toasted marshmallows from B&Q garden sheds, so it’s probably safe (if historically dishonest) to suggest that Kingston’s Christmas Market’s the oldest Christmas market in the world.

This is a South West London alternative to central options, and the ideal  place to come if you’re ‘sarf of the river in need of some nogged egg.

When: Thursday 18th November until Friday 31st December
Market Place, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1JS

Canopy Market, King’s Cross

Coming to Kings Cross this winter, Canopy Market’s Christmas Market will be a mulled-wine fuelled chance to pick up any number of foodie gifts.

A mulled-wine fuelled chance to pick up any number of foodie gifts...

The market will include different weekends, in the form of a vegan fest (between 3rd and 5th December), festive workshops and tastings (between 10th and 12th December) and a craft gifting weekend (17th and 19th December).

When: Thursday 26th November until Thursday 23rd December
 Canopy Market, West Handyside Canopy, 1 Wharf Road, Kings Cross, N1C 4BZ

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